Waterstone care and use

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Forum topic by skeemer posted 03-12-2012 12:29 PM 1753 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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95 posts in 2566 days

03-12-2012 12:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sharpening

I recently bought my first waterstone after giving the scary sharp method a try and not finding it to my liking. I purchased a 1000/4000 combination stone from Norton and gave it a try yesterday and was quite pleased with the results so far. I now plan to buy a 220 grit and down the road the 8000 grit (will continue to use 2000 sandpaper for final finish for now, the 8000 is expensive!).

Couple questions on care and use:

1. Should I store these in a bucket of water when not in use? Or let them dry out and then resoak for the next use?

2. If I do soak it in water, do I run the risk of cross contamination of grits? Should they be in separate buckets?

3. Should I be cleaning the slurry off as I go, or just let it work it’s way off on it’s own?

4. Should I keep a film of water on the surface during use, or just let the water come up through the stone?

Thanks a million!

6 replies so far

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2978 days

#1 posted 03-12-2012 12:41 PM

Read the instuctions for the stones you have – or call Norton (if they are Norton’s stones). Some stones will disolve over time, some tell you keep them in water. One of the problems I had was that the water evaporated and the a stone cracked in half. After that, I kept the 6000 and 8000 and went to diamond plates for the other grits. The 6000 and 8000 reqire a bath for about 15 minutes before you use them and spritz them during use.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View jmos's profile


902 posts in 2571 days

#2 posted 03-12-2012 02:16 PM

I have three Norton stones (220, 1000/8000, and 4000). I let them dry out between uses. I don’t sharpen terribly often. If I was sharpening every day or two I might keep them soaking. I’ve heard adding a little bleach to the water is a good idea to keep bio growth down. If you do soak, I wouldn’t think cross contamination of grits would be an issue unless they were grinding together in the bath

During use I keep the surface wet with a plant sprayer, and clean off slurry as needed.

You didn’t mention flattening the stones, so I’ll put out a warning, keep them flat! They will dish during use, and you need to flatten. I use a granite reference plate (~$30) and wet/dry sandpaper (220 for all but the 8000, where I use 600 grit). Also, don’t trust the stones to be flat out of the box.

I’ve been happy with the water stones. when I use mine up I’ll probably try the Shapton stones, as you don’t have to soak them (but they are a good bit more pricey.)

-- John

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5128 posts in 4162 days

#3 posted 03-12-2012 02:20 PM

I keep mine in a shallow plastic pan with about an inch of water with a splash of bleach. THey’re always ready to go. I clean them after each use and flatten. I’ve not had a problem with grit contamination storing them together.


View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2894 days

#4 posted 03-12-2012 02:25 PM

I do what Bill does. I’ll usually give one pass with a flattening diamond before sharpening to scrape off any higher grit. A quick dunk should probably suffice. I’ve got all the stones but I prefer the scary sharp. To each his own, right? :)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Willeh's profile


228 posts in 2540 days

#5 posted 03-12-2012 02:40 PM

the norton stones are WAY out of flat from factory i find… I bought a 1000/8000 which separated in half after the first use.. took it back to lee valley and when I got the second one home, i found that it was alomst 1/8th out across the middle and on one corner… back to the store it went.. then went through the process of looking at about 8 more stones before I found one that wasnt horribly out of flat… (If i’m spending 90$ on a stone, I don’t want to use up a quarter of its life getting it into flat for the first use..

-- Will, Ontario Canada. "I can do fast, cheap and good, but you can only pick two... "

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3849 days

#6 posted 03-12-2012 04:04 PM

1. I don’t but you can do that as long as it doesn’t freeze.

2. Probably.

3. Waterstones will clog in use. A nagura stone cleans them
without resurfacing.

4. work with water on the stone surface until the very end
of honing and do the last half-donen or so honing strokes
on a waterless surface.

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